I despised poetry. Hated it. I begrudged every moment in my high school classes spent in the mind-numbing task of analyzing poetry. Tests on the subject matter all looked the same:
2a. Identify the meter, stanza, and rhyme scheme of the following poem:
Yada, yada, yada.
I hated poetry so much that when a teacher informed us that we had to write our own poem, I rebelled. I refused on the grounds of artistic differences. I saw no art in it and wanted no part of writing one myself. This was a very unexpected turn of events for my poor A.P. English teacher. After much debate, she finally allowed me to do extra credit work to make up for my little mutiny.
Then there was college. My inner wild child sprang forth and pushed my geekier side out of the way so that she could have a little fun. I barely went to class that first semester and when I did attend, was generally still hung over from the night before. By some strange quirk of fate, this unlikely environment was where I first discovered my love of poetry.
Not all poetry, mind you. To this day, I still contend that most poetry SUCKS. However, hidden away behind all of the "hither"s and "wherefores", there are real works of beauty and grace. Of playfulness and love. Even of sex. This last, of course, is what first caught my eye.
Sitting in class one day, I was listening to my professor drone on about poetic meter and scansion (or some such nonsense) and suddenly it hit me. The poem was about sex! I was amused and a little stunned. For once, a poem was about something that actually related to me and the issues that I was working through at the time.
For a short while, I started obsessively reading though books of poetry. Not paying attention to the structure of the poem, but actually reading it for what it was. Poets didn't write poetry like a math equation. They wrote them out of a passion for something. Passion compelled them to put pen to paper. For a variety of reasons, but it was always driven by passion. I found that if I always sought out that passion, poetry become less confusing and cumbersome. In many cases, it became beautiful, thoughtful, or amusing.
Anyway, in my trademark long-winded way, I'm coming around to a point. I was hoping that there might be one or two of you out there that are closet poetry-philes like myself. What are some of your favorites? Why? Not why a professor told you that you should like it. Tell us why YOU liked a poem. How it touched, angered or amused you. Why you never forgot it. Or, even a single line that might have stuck in your head.
Seeing as how I might be the only one to ever post in this thread, I'll save my own favorites to share with you in my next post. I'm sure the thread won't be in danger of getting away from me before I get the chance.
Incidentally, I know this is a book forum and talking about poetry isnt really discussion of books, per se. However, it would be discussing works of literature, so I'm hoping the mods see fit to let it stay.